The History of Oolong Tea

Oolong tea is a partially fermented tea that is made from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant. It is known for its unique flavor, which is somewhere between black tea and green tea, and its beautiful, curled leaves. Oolong tea originated in China during the Ming Dynasty, and it was originally made only for the Emperor and his court. Today, it is produced in many countries around the world and is enjoyed for its flavor and potential health benefits.

Oolong loose leaf tea

What is the history of Oolong tea?

Oolong tea has a long and interesting history. It is believed to have originated in China during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), and it was originally known as "black dragon tea." The name "oolong" comes from the Chinese words "wu long," which means "black dragon." 

Oolong tea was first produced in the Fujian province of China, and it was initially made only for the Emperor and his court. Oolong tea was highly prized for its delicate flavour and beautiful appearance, and it became an important part of Chinese tea culture. In the 19th century, oolong tea was introduced to Taiwan, where it was cultivated on a larger scale. Today, oolong tea is produced in many countries around the world, including China, Taiwan, India, and Japan. It is enjoyed for its unique flavour and aroma, as well as its potential health benefits.

Chinese tea farm

What makes Oolong tea unique?

 Oolong tea is a type of tea that is made from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant, just like black, green, and white teas. Oolong tea is unique because it is partially fermented, which gives it a flavor that is somewhere between black tea and green tea. The flavor of oolong tea can be complex and varied, with notes of fruit, flowers, and herbs. Oolong tea is also known for its beautiful, curled leaves and its amber-colored liquor. In addition to its unique flavor and appearance, oolong tea is also believed to have numerous health benefits, such as aiding in weight loss, improving mental alertness, and reducing the risk of heart disease.

Does Oolong tea offer any health benefits? 

There is some evidence to suggest that oolong tea may offer a number of health benefits. Some of the potential benefits of oolong tea include:

  1. Weight loss: Some studies have suggested that oolong tea may help to boost metabolism and increase fat oxidation, which could lead to weight loss.
  2. Improved mental alertness: The caffeine and theanine found in oolong tea may help to improve mental alertness and focus.
  3. Reduced risk of heart disease: Oolong tea is rich in antioxidants, which may help to reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering cholesterol levels and reducing inflammation.
  4. Stronger bones: Oolong tea is a good source of bone-building minerals like fluorine, which may help to improve bone density and reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
  5. Improved dental health: Oolong tea contains compounds that may help to kill bacteria and inhibit the growth of plaque, which could improve dental health.

It's important to note that more research is needed to fully understand the health benefits of oolong tea, and it's not a substitute for a healthy diet and lifestyle. As with any dietary supplement, it's important to speak with a healthcare provider before adding oolong tea to your diet.

Idle Tea Oolong Orange Cream

If you have not tried our Idle Tea offering, this is one we definitely recommend.   The aroma alone will have you coming back for more.  

Oolong Orange Cream

Flavor Profile: Clean orange citrus notes with a creamy finish.

Ingredients:  Oolong tea, natural flavor, orange peel, safflower

Oolong is a traditional semi-oxidized Chinese tea produced through a process including withering the plant under strong sun and oxidation before curling and twisting. Most oolong teas, especially those of fine quality, involve unique tea plant cultivars that are exclusively used for particular varieties.

Idle Tea Oolong Cream

Ring in the New Year with Alternative Lattes!

Get your new year off to a good start, and stock your cupboard with delicious healthy latte options. It’s a great ritual to pair with a new health routine, and it keeps your actions consistent, which will help you stay on track to hit your goals.

If you’re pairing your superfood latte routine with a new self-care routine, make sure to read our previous blog post about starting a gratitude journal.

Idle Tea Alternative Lattes

Our superfood latte powders are loaded with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that are great for health. And let’s face it–we all have to go off of coffee sometimes. These caffeine free lattes (with the exception of green tea matcha) will keep you balanced and alert. 

What are alternative lattes?

Alternative lattes are a healthy, nutritious coffee-free latte. They come in a powder form, which you mix with a splash of water and top with hot milk or a non-dairy alternative. 

Alternative latte powders are rich in vitamins and antioxidants to promote better health. Vitamins help our bodies carry out various functions to stay healthy, and antioxidants reduce oxidative stress on the body, which can cause illness in the long run. 

One of the main draws of the superfood latte is the colour. It’s an exciting novelty to see lattes in unusual colours, like pink, red, green, and yellow.

Alternative lattes are a great solution for when you’re craving a frothy treat like a latte, cappuccino, or hot chocolate. The superfood latte powders are slightly sweetened with coconut sugar for a mildly sweet latte that makes the perfect healthy treat. It lets you have your latte and drink it, too!

Our very own Idle Tea line offers 4 alternative lattes variations. Let’s take a look at them all and explore their health benefits.

Idle Tea Beetroot latte

Beetroot latte

The Idle Beetroot Latte powder contains dried and ground beetroot, which gives the powder that rich magenta hue and earthy flavour. The hint of ginger gives it a pleasant spice and warmth.

Beetroot is a superfood because it contains a long list of vitamins and minerals with very few calories. It’s rich in folate, which helps with development and growth, and lowers blood sugar. It also contains manganese, a mineral that helps with bone strength and brain health. It also contains trace amounts of copper, which is also lauded for its brain health benefits. Beetroot is high in fibre, which aids in gut health and digestion.

This latte powder also contains butterfly pea powder, which is rich in antioxidants called anthocyanins, which relieve inflammation. Butterfly pea powder is also known for its beautiful blue colour, and it is used as an all-natural dye for textiles and in many tea recipes. 

Idle Tea Matcha Latte

Matcha latte

The green tea matcha latte is famous for that beautiful bright green colour, and its subtle, grassy, sweet flavour. Green tea matcha powder is filled with antioxidants called catechins that reduce oxidative stress on the body, and may have anti-cancer properties. 

While matcha does contain caffeine, it releases slowly and contains much less than a cup of coffee. It also contains L-theanine, a compound that keeps you alert, focused, and calm. Many people who get jitters from coffee prefer to drink green tea matcha.

Matcha doesn’t have to be enjoyed with milk, and is delicious on its own. Simply whisk the powder with a few tablespoons of hot water with a chasen (wooden whisk) to get a beautiful frothy matcha tea. To learn more about the benefits of green tea matcha, read our previous blog post about matcha powder

Green tea matcha latte

Rooibos matcha latte

A rooibos matcha latte is simply rooibos tea that’s finely ground into a powder and prepared without straining. It has that signature sweet, mellow vanilla-like flavour. It’s sweetened with a touch of coconut sugar that’s just the right level of sweetness. This tea grows on a bush in South Africa, and South Africans have used it for medicinal purposes for centuries. The word rooibos means “red bush” in Afrikaans.

Like with green tea matcha powder, rooibos matcha is the whole tea leaf. When regular rooibos tea is strained, it contains some antioxidants, but as a matcha powder, it contains 10 times the antioxidants. The main antioxidants in rooibos matcha are polyphenols, which prevent inflammation.

Turmeric latte.

Turmeric latte

The Idle Tea Golden Turmeric Latte powder makes a beautiful rich orange-yellow golden hue, also known as “golden milk.” With warm spices and ginger, it’s a similar experience to the chai latte, without the caffeine. It’s lightly sweetened with coconut sugar for a perfectly-sweet, all-natural sweetener.

Turmeric is bursting with antioxidants like curcumin, an antioxidant that reduces inflammation. Curcumin may even slow the aging process and reduce the likelihood of Alzheimer’s disease. Ginger also contains a strong antioxidant, called gingerol, with similar anti-inflammatory properties.

Read our previous post about drinking turmeric for health benefits to learn more about this incredible ingredient. 

How to make a superfood latte:

Our superfood latte powders are easy to use and make a delicious latte that you can make at home. Make sure you have a carton of milk or a non-dairy alternative handy. To make your superfood latte even more delicious, froth your milk using a handheld milk frother or a blender. 


Drink to your health

Get your new year off to a good start, and stock your cupboard with delicious healthy latte options. It’s a great ritual to pair with a new health routine, and it keeps your actions consistent, which will help you stay on track to hit your goals. 

If you’re pairing your superfood latte routine with a new self-care routine, make sure to read our previous blog post about starting a gratitude journal.

Shop our delicious Idle Tea alternative latte powders in Beetroot, Green Tea Matcha, Rooibos Matcha, or Golden Turmeric.

Idle Tea Spiced Chai Latte : Our Family Recipe

A Spiced Chai latte is the perfect warm tea drink for this time of year when the temperature starts to drop. With its warm spice blend of cardamom, ginger, peppercorn, cinnamon, and other spices, chai lattes are a fall and winter favourite.

Idle Spice Chai Latte

Masala chai tea has been around for millennia. While the recipe that’s loved and enjoyed today is a little different, the foundation remains the same. Black tea, an array of warm spices, and a sweetener are still the building blocks.

As a coffee shop, it’s essential that you carry a good quality chai blend, something that’s easy to make and delicious. Our Idle Tea Chai Latte concentrate makes a perfectly sweet, aromatic chai latte. 

Let’s take a look at the origin of masala chai, what makes our blend so special, and how to prepare it using our blend. Then, we’ll finish off with a few fun variations on the chai latte. 

Idle Tea Spiced Chai Latte

Where did chai originate?

Chai originated in India somewhere between 5000-9000 years ago. Indian royalty figures drank chai, both for medicinal purposes and as a delicacy. Closer to the 19th century, it became a drink that royals and commoners alike could enjoy.

Traditionally, the Indian chai recipe is prepared by steeping black tea and whole spices in hot milk, and sweetening it with sugar or honey. The spices include (but are not limited to) cardamom, cinnamon, whole peppercorn, ginger, and aniseed.

In Indian, the word “chai” actually means “tea.” The term “masala chai” refers to the chai that we know and love, with “masala” denoting the spice blend. 

Chai culture is still hugely popular in India, and is made at home in large kettles and enjoyed in a celebratory context. It’s also popular on the streets, and street vendors, called “chai wallahs,” make hot masala chai on demand. 

Chai lattes as we know them in North America are prepared much differently, though the ingredients remain the same. Milk, black tea, a warm spice blend, and some form of sweetener are crucial for a perfect chai latte. 

For more content about tea origins, check out our previous blog post about matcha green tea powder

Spiced Chai Tea mix

What makes the Idle Tea Spiced Chai Mix special?

Our Idle Tea Spiced Chai Mix aims to replicate the authentic recipe as closely as possible. Our blend brews black assam tea with an array of warm signature spices. Those spices include Guatemalan cardamom, Asian ginger, Indonesian cinnamon, Madagascar cloves and Indonesian Lampong black peppercorn. Once the tea and spices have been steeped, we add just the right amount of beetroot sugar for the perfect sweetness.

The chai latte blend is a liquid blend that is conveniently brewed already, with the perfect level of sweetness and spice. All you have to do is combine it with milk in a pitcher, steam it, and top it with some cinnamon or nutmeg.

Our chai latte blend is the same recipe that we developed in the early 2000’s, over 20 years ago when we started making our own line of chai, syrups and smoothies. It used to be called Flavors of Eden, followed by Valleta Flavors. But now it’s under the Idle Tea line, and it now comes in a recyclable bottle. It’s the same great blend with a new look and label.

Idle Tea Chai Mix

How to make a chai latte

Our chai latte blend makes it incredibly easy to make the perfect chai latte. Pour 1 part Idle Tea Spiced Chai Mix into a pitcher, followed by two parts milk or a non-dairy substitute. Steam it in the pitcher until it reaches 140 degrees F. Pour it into a cup and top with cinnamon or nutmeg.  The same ratio can also be served cold over ice.

If you want to serve our chai latte concentrate for your coffee shop, reach out to us at .

Chai latte variations

The flavours of masala chai pair wonderfully with other flavours, so you’re not just limited to chai lattes alone. Here are 3 popular takes on the classic drink.

Dirty chai latte

A dirty chai latte is simply a chai latte with an espresso shot added. With familiar warm spices like ginger, cardamom, and cinnamon, it’s almost reminiscent of a gingerbread latte or a pumpkin spice latte. 

To make it, just steam the correct ratio of milk and chai mix until it reaches 140 degrees F. Then, pull an espresso shot into a cup. Pour the steamed chai over the espresso shot, and top with cinnamon or nutmeg. 

Chai tea mix

Chai apple cider

Apple cider beautifully complements the flavours of cinnamon, ginger, and cardamom. 

Simply pour 2 parts apple cider with 1 part Idle Tea Spiced Chai Mix into a pitcher, and steam until it reaches 140 degrees F. Pour into a cup, and top with cinnamon.

Chai hot chocolate

The chai hot chocolate is an experience similar to a spicy hot chocolate. The ginger and black peppercorn add a spicy, zesty kick. 

To make it, pour 1 tbsp of chocolate syrup into a cup. Into a metal milk pitcher, pour one part Idle Tea Spiced Chai Mix and 2 parts milk or non-dairy alternative. Steam it until it reaches 140 degrees F. Pour a small amount over the chocolate syrup, mixing well. Then, pour in the rest of the steamed chai. Top with nutmeg. 

Warm, spicy, and irresistable

Spiced Chai Latte

There’s nothing more comforting and warming than a chai latte with a dash of cinnamon on top. It’s the quintessential cozy drink, perfect for the colder fall and winter months. 

Make sure to seize the opportunity and offer this incredibly popular drink to your customers. It’s easy and quick to make, it makes for a perfectly balanced drink, and best of all, it’ll keep your line moving while keeping your customers in good spirits. Happy chai season!

Need the perfect chai latte blend for your coffee shop? Drop us a line at


Fratello Analog Cafe: Now Open Thursday-Sunday Calgary Farmers Market!

Fratello analog cafe calgary farmers marketFratello Coffee Roasters is excited to announce that Analog Cafe is open for business at the Calgary Farmers Market! We welcomed our first customers on Thursday April 21st. We look forward to serving you at Analog Cafe. Come visit us right at the entrance to the market. We are open Thursday-Sunday sharing great coffee with Calgarians!

Analog Cafe: Calgary Farmers Market 510 77th Avenue SE, Calgary, Alberta

fratello analog cafe calgary farmers markethario pour over bar single serve coffeehario pour over bar single serve coffee Fratello Analog cafefratello analog cafe calgary farmers market Slayer

fratello analog cafe calgary farmers market Slayer

Idle Tea Public Tasting Feb 24th 1:00-2:30 at Fratello Coffee

loose leaf tea

Fratello Coffee Roasters and Analog Cafe invite you to come taste our launching line-up of Idle Tea: Single Origin, Unblended, Fresh Crop tea sourced direct from gardens.

We welcome the public to Fratello Coffee Roasters Thursday Feb 24th at 1:00 to experience our seven carefully selected Idle Teas.